Native Runner, Dirk Whitebreast, Runs 45th Marathon at NYC 45th Marathon

Dirk Whitebreast runs in NYC Marathon. Photo courtesy of Lannesse Baker.

Dirk Whitebreast runs in NYC Marathon. Photo courtesy of Lannesse Baker.

From Tama to the Big Apple

Published November 1, 2015

NEW YORK – Sac & Fox Dirk Whitebreast, 35, ran his 45th marathon today in the New York City’s 45th Marathon in the Big Apple on Sunday. Whitebreast, who lives in Tama, Iowa, is a tribal citizen of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in the Meskwaki Nation.

Whitebreast was among 50,000 who ran through the five boroughs of New York City on a beautiful fall day with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees under partly cloudy skies.

“The final five K were tough for me. I started to cramp up in both legs. I told myself to keeping going and you can deal with it afterwards,” Whitebreast commented to Native News Online Sunday evening via telephone from New York. “Between miles 24 and 25, there were hills. There were a lot of people who stopped running and began to walk, so I had to weave in and out to get past them.”

Whitebreast said he saw so many young people along the marathon route, many of whom were volunteers.

“It was such a positive thing seeing all those young people there,” Whitebreast said.

“In this marathon, you could feel the human spirit there. Some 139 countries were represented today. I heard so many different languages; so many different dialects. It was beautiful to be with all those from other nations, including the Meskwaki Nation. I think that was great! It seemed like the best in humanity were there.”

Three years ago, Whitebreast ran 10 marathons in 30 days to in honor of his sister, Darcy Jo Keahna, who committed suicide 12 years ago. Whitebreast who considers himself an alcoholic gave up drinking the day his sister ended her life.

“I was the kid who was never supposed to amount to anything,” said Whitebreast. “I learned it is up to you. It does take work, but it can be done,” he continued, speaking about the role model his has become to American Indians in Indian Country.

“It was fitting to run my 45th marathon in New York’s 45th,” Whitebreast said with pride.

Whitebreat showed his Native Pride on Friday in the NYC Marathon parade.

Whitebreat showed his Native Pride on Friday in the NYC Marathon parade.

Whitebreast, who previously served on the Sac & Fox of the Mississippi Band’s tribal council, is the assistant director the Meskwaki Casino in Tama. He also sits on the advisory committee of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, based in Washington, D.C.

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